Imagine going to work and your day’s assignment includes accompanying a senior on a skydiving expedition. Or experiencing a zero gravity flight. Or bringing estranged family members together after years of separation, then delivering thousands of postcards from more than 80 countries around the world to one happy man.
Sounds like a dream job to me!
But it’s just another day at the office if you work for Jeremy Bloom’s Wish of a Lifetime (WOL).
The non-profit organization was founded by Bloom, a former NFL football player and two-time Olympic skier, in 2008. WOL’s employees and volunteers embrace this mission: “to inspire an entire generation and to create a cultural shift on how we view aging.”
There are four types of wishes granted by Bloom’s group, per the site: renewing and celebrating passions, reconnecting loved ones, commemorating service, and fulfilling lifelong dreams. WOL also partners with Brookdale Senior Living, one of the nation’s largest senior care providers, to grant wishes to Brookdale residents.
Skydiving with seniors is only a small part of what WOL does. More than anything, they hope their wish-granting changes the way society views elders and inspires others to help seniors in their family and social circles achieve their lifelong dreams. These are noble goals, and they’ve been met with great results. According to the WOL Facebook page, “95% of wish recipients state their outlook on life improved after their wish of a lifetime was granted.”
(Regret is a powerful depressant, isn’t it?)
Watch this video to learn more about WOL and find out who/what inspired Bloom to launch this effort:
Another great organization doing similar work is the Twilight Wish Foundation. Established in 2003 in Pennsylvania, Twilight Wish focuses on the wishes of low-income seniors and has expanded over the years to include multiple chapters across the country, all united in their mission of “honor[ing] and enrich[ing] the lives of deserving seniors through wish granting celebrations connecting generations” and this vision: “to make the world a nicer place to age, one wish at a time.”
Some of the dreams recently granted by Twilight Wish include a Southern California shopping trip, a cross-country train ride for a reunion with fellow Marines, a hot air balloon ride (for a woman’s 100th birthday!), and a move from an Idaho nursing home to one in Texas, so the grantee could be closer to her family.
Visit both organizations’ websites to learn how you can be involved in granting seniors’ wishes locally and nationally by donating time, money, or goods and services.
Your turn: What’s your lifetime wish? If you’re a caregiver, do you know what your caree’s wish is?